The water level on the Gunpowder is at 34 CFS with waters temperature of 52-54 degrees F. Fish haven’t been rising too much so nymphing has been good, especially in the deep pools. The two patterns that have been doing best have been #20 midge emergers in black, brown, or olive and #16 tungsten jig heads. Dry droppers, like a small foam hopper followed by a midge emerger, have been working excellent this morning.
Please follow the leash law if you’re bringing a dog with you. There are lots of little deer on the trails right now that dogs love to chase. It’s a beautiful day on the Gunpowder to try your luck with the fall fish. Stay safe and socially distanced from others, and have fun.
The water level on the Gunpowder is remaining low around 30 cfs with water temperature being the much more favorable factor. On most days the river is peaking around 54-60 degrees, triggering hatches of midges and the occasional stonefly. Very small dry flies in the size 20-24 range have still been the key to catching fish sipping midges on the surface.
Nymphing is becoming increasingly effective as the weather cools. One of the best nymphing setups for the catch and release section is a caddis pupae paired with a zebra midge or similar midge larva. When nymphing, we recommend sticking to a few fly patterns and experimenting more with weight and indicators. I’ve been using the Deep Soft Weight putty from Loon. It’s great for fine tuning the weight on your leader without the damage of crimping on split shot.
As always, we endorse fall streamer fishing. Gunpowder brown trout typically spawn in mid-late November. So now is the time to tie on a streamer and target structure near good spawning gravel in hopes of finding an aggressive pre-spawn brown. That being said, use care while wading as to not step on any redds where trout have cleaned a patch of gravel to lay their eggs.
Flows on the Gunpowder River are still low at around 30cfs. The few tricos we saw this year are beginning to taper off, but midges are still in abundance. Now that tubers have vacated the river we fly anglers can start taking advantage of more access points. So keep an eye out for trout sipping midges from Prettyboy dam all the way down to Monkton.
As the weather cools off, larger brown trout will start moving upriver. That being said, don’t be afraid to toss a streamer around. We have some great unweighted streamer patterns in the shop that work well in low water. Lastly, swinging soft hackles and nymphing will generally be productive. Midge larva, caddis pupae, and stonefly patterns will be your best nymphs going into fall.
After a week of favorable flows in the 70s, the river has dropped back down to its typical summer flow of ~30 cfs. We recommend wading as little as possible and fishing long leaders with 6-7x tippet as the trout are quite skittish. Stop by the shop for some Trout Hunter 6.5x tippet, which is absolutely perfect for fishing low water when you just don’t want to commit to using super delicate 7x.
Fishing a dry dropper is a good way to catch fish in the early mornings. I recommend cutting off the dropper around 11am when the water begins to warm up. Terrestrials have been successful recently, but it doesn’t hurt to downsize your ants and beetles. Crickets can be heard chirping along the river banks this time of year. So don’t be afraid to play around with a small, dark colored hopper or Chernobyl ant.
Tricos have not been particularly prevalent on the river this summer, but there are plenty of midges and the fish are almost always feeding on them. A small trico pattern in the #20-22 range will oftentimes work for the trout sipping midges in slow water.
The weather has taken a pleasant fall-like turn recently. So enjoy your time on the water and if all else fails swing a wet fly!
Like many fly anglers, I was sucked into the hobby by visions of casting dry flies to rising trout surrounded by the sweeping hills and vast skies of the American west. However, not long after breaking into the hobby, I found myself being drawn to the excitement of flats fishing in the Florida Keys and the idea of taking a trip out west became distant.
Finally, five years after casting my first fly rod, I made the journey to Salt Lake City and then north to Wyoming. The first full day of fishing was one of the most memorable I’ve had. My fishing buddy and I explored the massive Wind River Range, following miles and miles of dirt roads. I could have stayed there forever catching those eager cutthroat trout, but eventually we came to an impasse that our rental car just wasn’t up for.
On our second day we put the Wind River in the rear view and headed to Yellowstone. I found the rivers in the park to be incredibly diverse. The lower Gardiner River is fast flowing and full of pocket water where gullible brown trout will almost always rise to a well drifted hopper. The Lamar is a truly epic river with big mayflies, big cutthroat, and big scenery. The final day of our trip was reserved for fishing the infamous Slough Creek. The hiking, the landscape, the weather, and the fishing on slough can all be described as intense. On the slow meandering bends of Slough Creek the cutthroat act more like carp than trout. Before casting to the undercut on the opposite bank, it pays to carefully watch the shallow gravel bar on the inside of the bend for cruising trout who may be in less than a foot of water. These cruising fish are very eager to rise to a well presented terrestrial, albeit the slowest and most cautious rises I’ve ever seen. To sum it up; those aforementioned visions of casting dry flies surrounded by vast landscapes came to fruition on Slough Creek.
Anybody who has fished out west knows that covering ground is key. That being said, the gear that allows you to hike further and fish longer will far outshine things like your rod and reel setup. On this trip I was fortunate enough to use the new Chota Hybrid High-Top Rubber Soled Boot. These boots are a great value for the price and resemble a lightweight hiking boot more than a wading boot. Chota purposefully built these boots with a removable insole. So they can fit comfortably with regular socks, neoprene wading socks, or the booties on your waders. However, my favorite quality of these boots is undoubtedly their light weight and how easy they are to slip on and take off whether wet or dry!
Another item I found to be invaluable on my trip was my Patagonia Stormfront Sling pack. Yellowstone is known for its hot and dry summer days, but I can assure you that thunderstorms can pop up in an instant. This pack was not only comfortable, but great for keeping my stuff dry when I couldn’t avoid a rain squall. It’s important to keep in mind that this pack is basically one big compartment. So organizing your gear inside takes a little consideration, but I find the Patagonia Black Hole Cubes to be the perfect for compartmentalizing. The not so obvious benefit of the Stormfront Sling is the fact that it’s not only water tight, but also fairly air tight. This means that the delicious smelling sandwich I stashed in my pack is pretty unlikely to lure in that big grizzly we spotted from camp the night before.
Heading out west yourself? Feel free to stop in the new shop at 16829 York Rd and we’ll outfit you with plenty of Chubby Chernobyls (basically the only fly you’ll need west of the rockies)!
Even after one and a half inches of rain on September 2nd, flows on the Gunpowder remain clear and below 30 CFS with temperatures ranging between 56 and 60 degrees F. Despite the low water, lots of wild fish can be found rising to midges and some Tricos. Using small dries in the #18-22 range in the morning and evenings can result in subtle takes from these fish. Fishing a terrestrial around overhanging branches and grass is still an effective tactic.
Come visit the new shop labor day weekend. Directions to the new shop can be found here. We will be open:
This week the Gunpowder River flow has been fluctuating often. Recently it has been at ideal levels, and flowing at about 85 cfs, 57.9 F and clear. Terrestrials are still going to the most effective way to fish a dry fly. Targeting structure like trees and other formations along the bank will give you the best opportunity to catch a fish, but some opportunistic fish may rise in the faster runs.
Fishing a nymph rig can be very effective as well. You will find fish holding deep in the bigger pools, these fish are best targeted with nymphs. It is best to go small, imitating midges has worked best. We often pair the midge with a larger, heavier fly. The flow has been fluctuating often but recently has been at ideal levels, about 85 cfs.
The release from Prettyboy remains 29 Cfs, with the water temperature starting in the mid 50’s. Progressive stain in the water downstream from Masemore after localized thunderstorms. Nymphing is worth shot, the smaller the better. Terrestrial can still be effective especially in the riffles.
Thanks to Warner for the great stream report!
Just checking in after a nice afternoon/evening on the Gunpowder after my recent Abel reel purchase. Big thank you to Gene for his continued support and patience as he answers my numerous questions about gear and fly presentations. He also was instrumental in helping me find this rod/reel combo of a Winston Super 10 and Abel Super 4/5. It was spectacular today! Thanks again. See attached photo.
The Gunpowder is 29 cfs, clear and water temperatures start the day at 53-54 and can swing up to the low 60’s on hot sunny days.
Since Wednesday evening the releases from Prettyboy dam have dropped from 85 to sub 30cfs. All of a sudden this presents a much changed river. There are little to no sulphurs and much reduced numbers of caddis around compared to 2 weeks ago. Now many fish have switched their attention to midges and terrestrials like ants and beetles along the banks. On darker days or after some rain, try swinging a small streamer. The trout are active and will eat if a fly is presented well, the key is not spooking them; if you can see them, they can usually see you. Try to reduce wading to a minimum and fish long light leaders to help your presentation.
We’ll be open at 8am both Saturday and Sunday.
We’ve just checked in a couple of the fantastic and new Shadow X rods from Echo which will help in these often challenging fishing conditions.
My first trip to the Savage River several weeks ago presented different challenges than the Gunpowder. I had been told of the difficult wading and after my first day I would agree. Didymo covers the large boulders that lay in the water which causes very slick conditions. With much more rocks in the water, the currents were more intricate than those of the Gunpowder. For this reason, i found maneuvering through the river and positioning was key to getting a good drift. It may be helpful to bring a wading staff for crossing the river because of the slick rocks and strong current. It was 160 cfs the time we fished it, which was deceptively strong. But, overcoming these challenges can result in some great fish and beautiful mountain scenery.
Another great difference is the presence of pocket water on the Savage. On the Gunpowder, there is very little pocket water to be fished. But on the Savage, the fast currents and hidden holes provide great habitat for trout to hide in. This presented me with the opportunity to nymph effectively using Loon Biostrike rather than an indicator, which was a new tactic for myself.
Sulphurs & Blue Quills were the most predominant mayfly on the river and tan and black caddis were present in large numbers. By the early afternoon, fish could be seen rising consistently to sulphurs. The most spectacular time is the last minutes of the day. Near dusk, the spinner fall gave me the opportunity to see the large amount of fish within each pool and target some of the bigger fish. When fishing in the morning, I fished small nymphs with splitshot to keep flies down in the water column.
Please note: The shop will be closed this holiday weekend on the 4th & 5th.